Home / Tag Archives: manufacturing

Tag Archives: manufacturing

Nvidia prices Jeston Xavier AI platform developer kit at $1,299

Today at Computex in Taipei, Nvidia CEO and founder Jensen Huang announced the availability of a drastically upgraded version of Issac. Nvidia calls the next-gen robotics system the next step in autonomous machines as it reportedly brings AI capabilities to a new set of industries. The company has been talking about this platform some time, touting its capabilities and use cases. A Jetson Xavier SoC provides the processing with more than 9 billion transistors, it delivers over 30 TOPS (trillion operations per second). Inside the Xavier is a Volta Tensor Core GPU, an eight-core ARM64 CPU, dual NVDLA deep learning accelerators, an image processor, a vision processor and a video processor. The platform developer kit will be available in August for $1,299 and includes the Isaac robotics software. “AI is the most powerful technology force of our time,” said Huang in a released statement. “Its first phase will enable new levels of software automation that boost productivity in many industries. Next, AI, in combination with sensors and actuators, will be the brain of a new generation of autonomous machines. Someday, there will be billions of intelligent machines in manufacturing, home delivery, warehouse logistics and much more.” The Isaac Robotics Software includes the Isaac SDK, a collection of APIs and tools to develop robotic algorithm software, the Isaac IMX, Nvidia-developed robotics software, and the Isaac Sim, a virtual simulation software to train autonomous machines. The availability of the developer kit should mark a turning point of robotics development. It provides serious processing power and capabilities in a ready-made package.

Read More »

Augmented reality display maker DigiLens nabs $25 million

Though content creators in the augmented reality space are still struggling to find engaging use cases for early mobile augmented reality platforms, there is still a feverish amount of excitement inside the space from big tech companies and makers of key components that are plugging along in developing technologies that will enable consumer AR headsets. One such startup, augmented reality display manufacturer DigiLens , announced today that they have raised $25 million of a Series C round from automotive parts manufacturing giant Continental. DigiLens manufactures “waveguide displays,” which have been in use for a while but are pretty much the best technology available for making AR headset displays. While VR headset manufacturers are able to use conventional LCD or OLED displays to render an entirely new world while perhaps relying on passthrough feeds from cameras to simulate “mixed reality” environments, hardware manufacturers interested in making glasses-like AR headsets that aren’t incredibly ugly have had to rely on waveguides, which reflect light that is shined into the edge of a sheet of glass and bounced around inside by reflective elements before being shined directly into a user’s eyes. It’s all a bit more complicated than that, but importantly it allows for a mostly transparent screen that users can gaze through to see what’s going on in the real world. What distinguishes DigiLens is that their manufacturing process relies on them “printing” these reflective elements directly onto the sheets of glass, a feature the company says helps them keep costs lower than its competitors. Though Sunnyvale-based DigiLens has perhaps gotten the most press for its work on miniature waveguide displays perfect for the first generation of augmented reality headsets, like many other display makers in that space they’ve found more immediate opportunity in making heads-up displays for cars and motorcycle helmets. This significant investment from Continental now pins the company’s equity stake in DigiLens at 18 percent, the company tells me. DigiLens has raised $60 million in funding to date from investors, including Sony and Foxconn according to Crunchbase .

Read More »

What is the latest suave geek toy on market? – Robotics and Automation News (press release)

Robotics and Automation News (press release) What is the latest suave geek toy on market? Robotics and Automation News (press release) Right from fitness, to car accessories , to survival gear, to video games, to smart tech gadgets, there's something for everyone. ... Keyboard Waffle Iron – For someone who loves food as much as they love computers , this is a must-have. ... Other than ...

Read More »

Starting a robotics company out of school? Not so fast, suggest investors

Every once in a while, a college student or recent graduate dares to launch a robotics startup and . . . everything goes as well as could be expected. Such is the case, for example, with Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, two former University of Waterloo students who worked on self-driving technologies together in college and formed their now venture-backed , self-driving truck company, Embark , instead of graduating. (Originally called Varden Labs, the startup’s trip  through Y Combinator undoubtedly helped.) Still, to capture the sustained interest of robotics investors, it helps to either have experience in a particular industry or to pull in someone, quickly, who does. That much was established yesterday at UC Berkeley, when three veteran investors — Renata Quintini of Lux Capital, Rob Coneybeer of Shasta Ventures, and Chris Evdemon of Sinovation Ventures — took the stage of a packed Zellerbach Hall to talk about where they’ve invested previously, and where they are shopping now. Though the three expressed interest in a wide range of technologies and plenty of optimism about what’s to come, each lingered a bit on one point in particular, which was the difficulty robotics founders face who are completely unfamiliar with the particular industry they may hope to reshape with their innovation. You can catch the entire interview below, but we  thought college students — and their professors and mentors — might want to pay particularly close attention to this concern if they’re thinking about hitting up investors in the not-too-distant future. Quintini on how comfortable she and her colleagues at Lux are when it comes to backing recent college graduates: What we care the most about what is your unique insight and what do you know about tackling a certain market or problem that’s not obvious or easy to replicate. In some cases, it’s very fair for someone right out of university who finds a technological breakthrough and .

Read More »

EcoFlow raises $4M from unconventional investors to grow its mobile power business

EcoFlow , a Chinese hardware firm developed by former JDI engineers that sells portable power stations, has pulled in a Series A round of over $4 million ahead of the imminent launch of new products and an international sales expansion. The Shenzhen-based company has taken an interesting route. Founded in 2016, the startup burst on to the scene when it launched its River product in an Indiegogo campaign that pulled in $1 million . Today, River is available in the U.S. where it is sold via Home Depot, Camping World, Amazon, HSN and the EcoFlow website for $699 upwards. That’s pretty impressive progress for a young company, and CEO and co-founder Eli Harris told TechCrunch in an interview that relationships with key partners are at the core of that. In particular, EcoFlow has raised strategic investment from supply chain partners rather than traditional VC and that is the case again. This new $4 million came courtesy of battery makers Guangzhou Penghui Energy and SCUD Group, industrial design tooling factory ESID, and supply chain-focused firms Delian Capital and Chunjia Assets. Names that aren’t known in Silicon Valley, for sure, but the key is what they bring to the table. “Our investors are almost entirely vertically integrated with every component in our supply chain,” Harris said. “That gives us access to these top-tier manufacturers that no startups could enjoy and help us get direct access to vendors at large companies.” Aside from reaching quality components and getting a good price, relationships with these component makers help EcoFlow with its cash flow — always a challenge puzzle piece for hardware startups. Harris explained that the relationships allow his company to delay paying for components rather than having to pay upfront — before product is sold and revenue comes in — which optimizes the books and means the capital can be put to work on R&D, sales and marketing and more. The River itself is touted as industry-leading portable power. Aside from an aesthetic nice design, the li-ion-based device has a total output of 500 watts, weighs just 11 pounds and features two quick-charge USB ports, two USB type C ports, two standard USB ports, two AC outlets, two DC outlets and one 12V car port. Now EcoFlow is doubling down with plans to launch two new products before the end of this year.

Read More »

Nike’s Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint leans hard into computational design

Computational design is the hottest phrase in manufacturing and 3D printing at the moment. It’s changing the way people make all kinds of goods, and Nike used it to design and manufacture its new  Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint shoe, which it’s announcing today. The shoe is a specialized edition of its Zoom Vaporfly Elite 4%, which was used by elite runner Eliud Kipchoge during Nike’s Breaking2 event, which resulted in the fastest marathon ever run. The special sauce in this edition is the FlyPrint upper, which is printed on the fly by a specially customized 3D printer out of a proprietary Nike polymer. I spoke with Nike’s Brett Holts, product line manager for running footwear and Roger Chen, a senior director for Nike’s NXT Digital Innovation department, about the process and the shoe. The material is printed out in a pattern specifically designed for a given athlete’s needs and attached to the much hyped Zoom X foam midsole from the 4% model. The process, which Nike is calling FlyPrint, has some similarities to Nike’s other famous ‘fly’ process, FlyKnit, hence the name. The printing process, says Chen, is a lot like painting the material. The uppers I saw pre-lasting look a lot like a regular butterfly upper, with the same kind of flexibility you’re used to seeing from fabric or other polymer-based upper materials. This is not a hard-shell 3D-printed material, it’s a fabric of sorts. This is reinforced by the fact that several components of the shoe are still made of FlyKnit including the tongue and collar. Those parts are so similar in chemical composition that there is no glue needed to attach them.

Read More »

ServiceTitan is LA’s least likely contender to be the next billion dollar startup

The city of Glendale, Calif. seems like an unlikely place to grow one of the next billion dollar startups in the booming Los Angeles tech ecosystem. Located at the southeastern tip of the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles suburb counts its biggest employers as the adhesive manufacturer Avery Dennison; the Los Angeles industrial team for the real estate developer CBRE; the International House of Pancakes; Disney Consumer Products; DreamWorks Studios; Walt Disney Animation and Univision. “Silicon Beach” this ain’t. But it’s here in the (other) Valley’s southernmost edge that investors have found a startup they consider to be the next potential billion dollar “unicorn” that will come out of Los Angeles. The company is  ServiceTitan,  and its market… is air conditioners. More specifically, it’s the contractors that service equipment like the heating, ventilation and cooling systems at commercial and residential properties across the U.S. Founded by Ara Mahdessian and Vahe Kuzoyan back in 2012, ServiceTitan is very much an up-and-coming billion-dollar business that’s a family (minded) affair. Mahdessian and Kuzoyan met on a ski trip organized by the Armenian student associations at Stanford and the University of Southern California back when both men were in college. Both programmers, the two men reconnected after doing stints as custom developers during and after college and then when they were developing tools for their families’ businesses as residential contractors in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. The two men built a suite of services to help contractors like their fathers manage their businesses. Now following a $62 million round of funding led by Battery Ventures last month, the company is worth roughly $800 million, according to people with knowledge of the investment, and is on its way to becoming Los Angeles’ next billion-dollar business. Battery isn’t the only marquee investor to find value in ServiceTitan’s business developing software managing day labor compelling.

Read More »

Splunk turns data processing chops to Industrial IoT

Splunk has always been known as a company that can sift through oodles of log or security data and help customers surface the important bits. Today, it announced it was going to try to apply that same skill set to Industrial Internet of Things data. IIoT is data found in manufacturing settings, typically come from sensors on the factory floor giving engineers and plant managers data about the health and well-being of the machines running in the facility. Up until now, that data hasn’t had a modern place to live. Traditionally, companies pull the data into Excel and try to slice and dice it to find the issues Splunk wants to change that with Splunk Industrial Asset Intelligence (IAI). The latest product pulls data from a variety of sources where it can be presented to management and engineers with the information they need to see along with critical alerts. The new product takes advantage of some existing Splunk tools being built on top of Splunk Enterprise, but instead of processing data coming from IT systems, it’s looking at Industrial Control Systems (ICS), sensors, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems and applications and pulling all that data together and presenting it to the key constituencies in a dashboard. It is not a simple matter, however, to set up these dashboards, pull the data from the various data sources, some of which may be modern and some quite old, and figure out what’s important for a particular customer. Splunk says it has turned to systems integrators to help with that part of the implementation. Splunk understands data, but it also recognizes working in the manufacturing sector is new territory for them, so they are looking to SIs with expertise in manufacturing to help them work with the unique requirements of this group. But it’s still data says Ammar Maraqa.

Read More »

Microsoft opens its gaming 3D optimization tool to enterprise industries

Microsoft is using the 3D optimization startup it bought last year to give it an in to the “mixed reality” enterprise market. Simplygon has previously had a heavy skew towards gaming services with technology that allowed developers more freedom over the kind of detail they offered end users. True to the name, Simplygon allowed companies to optimize 3D data and simplify (reduce) polygon counts of 3D files for devices that might not have the compute to handle them in their raw glory. In the past this has been a much easier solution but it still required a fair amount of leg work from developers. With this new update, the company is aiming to make the experience a lot more automatic than the old method, which left developers building a ton of recipes that they would still have to implement and manage. Today, the company is announcing some changes that will expand its sights beyond gaming and hook its claws into the enterprise world, specifically the manufacturing space, as it adds support for JT and STEP file formats that are among the most common CAD file types. The company announced in December, that the company would be integrating Simplygon into its Azure cloud services, so their desire to expand its utility to more customers isn’t a shock. Microsoft is emphasizing that a big focus of this shift is on its mixed reality platform so that files can seamlessly be viewed in the appropriate detail on a HoloLens or a desktop PC or a VR headset. In a blog post, the company doubled down, saying, “CAD support for Simplygon empowers more industries to painlessly and efficiently bring their existing assets into mixed reality.”

Read More »

Apple is an exception to nearly every rule

Walking into my first ever meeting with a structural packaging designer, I started rooting around in my bag before exclaiming, “This is the sort of thing I want!” She leaned forward in her chair, delighted to have a customer with a strong guide, then groaned audibly when she saw what I had placed on the table: the packaging from my new iPhone. “You can have anything you want,” she countered, “but if you want your packaging to look and feel like Apple’s, you’ll have to increase the unit cost for your packaging by 10x.” Packaging is just one example — there are dozens — of why Apple is a rank outlier in almost every way. Or, put differently:  Using the Cupertino-based company as your template for how to build a startup is not a great idea. Let me tell you why. Manufacturing constraints be damned! Apple is unusual in many ways, but nothing sets it apart from your hardware startup quite as much as its cash reserves.  The company sits on a quarter-of-a-trillion-dollar pile of cash , about twenty thousand times more money than even the best-funded startup in the world. Having a rainy-day fund the size of a national budget means you’re able to demand certain things. One example: Chipset manufacturers will jump through hoops to make things possible for Apple that they wouldn’t do for anyone else. At Apple, design is the driving force, with manufacturing and engineering fully dialed in to support that vision. In practice, that means that Apple’s designers make choices nobody else would be able to make. The amount of custom CNC milling that goes into Apple’s unibody laptops is incredibly hard to scale. For example, when designing the new unibody Macbook Pro, Apple’s designers had a very specific design in mind

Read More »